When people on the left and right say that Jezza is unelectable what they are really saying is even if he isn’t unelectable they’re determined to make it this way so as to satisfy historical precedent.
The evidence for this is abundant. Labour people such as Tony Blair, Liz Kendall and Lord Mandleson have been queuing up to criticise Corbyn since his election all for one simple reason, reputation.
The careers of these political chameleons hinge on the notion that Labour, indeed anyone for that matter can only win from the centre ground. This is the pretext for their electoral heroism (although not in Kendall’s case!). If it is possible to win an election from a position that they would term ‘extreme’ then this diminishes the achievements of people such as Blair and dispels once and for all the myth that people think in terms of left and right.
The implications of a Corbyn general election victory extend to above and beyond a mere Labour landslide. A Corbyn victory would effectively massacre the nostalgia that many hold for Blair and his centrist comrades. It would cause questions to be asked as to why Blair didn’t do more to advance a progressive agenda. Up to now, Blair’s biggest ace has always been the electability realism perspective but take away that electability clause and all you have is a failed war and a missed opportunity.
The overriding point is this. A Corbyn victory is opposed by some even within the Labour Party not because they necessarily disagree with his agenda but because his agenda disagrees with the status-quo school of thought about what it takes to win an election. Therefore, a Corbyn victory is opposed not because of policy disagreement but because of a fundamental difference in electoral ideology.
On another note, even if it were true that Corbyn was categorically, objectively and overridingly unelectable, then what use would Labour people constantly pointing this out have? It does not serve the party, it distracts people from devastating public sector cuts and only serves to advance the Tories’ cause. One does have to question the motive of people on the left in attacking their own in this way, for it does not seem to reap an obvious benefit. Surely, a united left, behind its leader and together with a vision for a fairer tomorrow is much better placed to win and should it fail, then fine let’s pick a new leader, but for now at least we should stand together.
Let’s face it, a lot of politicians’ only true concern is reelection, perhaps if priorities were to change and policy was put first then Corbyn would be fare much better.
By Peter R. Jacobs